Getting certified is a time-consuming commitment and often requires financial investment. Many people may not consider this to be a key component to their career from forming views of their peers or competition. There are some professionals out there who have managed to achieve inspiring results whilst being non-certified. Regardless of this, this is neither common nor straightforward and often achieved in exceptional circumstances. If you want to grow professionally and take your career to the next level, it is vital that you become a certified professional and demonstrate continuous professional development thereafter.
Below you can find the 5 key reasons why it is worth getting certified:
Improved knowledge and skills
Courses, leading to professional certifications, cover the fundamentals of a relevant professional specialism ensuring you have an in-depth understanding of the basic concepts, tools and techniques that would enable you to work as an informed member of a team. More advanced professional certifications tend to cover practical aspects of the job, which ensures you not only have knowledge of the subject, but you have the skills, enabling you to apply this knowledge and achieve the required results in practice. These terms of fundamentals and advanced are often referred to as Foundation and Practitioner level certifications. It is vital that you achieve a certificated level in both of these in order to improve your professional competence and be able to evidence your specialism to prospective employers. Furthermore, it would also give your confidence a boost as the more you learn the more confident and informed you become.
Improved job prospects
At least 50% of recruiters expect candidates to have a professional certification. i Nowadays, the employment market is increasingly competitive and by not having a certification, this can result in job seekers being unable to meet essential education criteria for a significant number of roles. This can subsequently lead to prolonged periods of job-searching resulting, at worst, in long-term unemployment. Despite the fact that some recruiters do not specify the requirement for a Professional Certification, it is wise to remember that you probably will be competing against people who already are certified. Candidates that possess professional certifications, relevant knowledge of fundamentals, principles and have the experience of effectively applying their knowledge, will often be selected, interviewed and considered as the successful candidate. Becoming certified will enable you to differentiate yourself from non-certified competitors and increase your chances of getting an offer for a job.
Entry to the profession
Getting certified in your chosen specialism is the easiest way to enter your chosen profession. Some examples of recommended entry-level certifications for different professions are as follows:
- Project Manager – PRINCE2® Foundation or APM Project Fundamentals Qualification (PFQ),
- Change Manager – APMG International Change Management™ Foundation,
- Business Analyst – BCS Business Analysis Foundation,
- Software Tester – BCS ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL),
- Cyber Resilience IT Professional – RESILIA® Foundation.
All well-established professions have their own certification routes, providing entry to the profession and ensuring that professionals have the relevant knowledge and skills to perform in their role.
Certified professionals, depending on their specialism, tend to earn up to 20% more comparing to professionals of the same specialism who are non – certified. ii Also, having a professional certification on your CV would support any future pay negotiations with your current or prospective employer where you may need to benchmark yourself against your peers.
Professional certifications can enable you to progress within your specialism to a higher-level of responsibility. For example, if you are a project manager and consider that it is a time to move on to programme management, your first step would be to getting Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®) – certified, to gain the knowledge and skills required for the post and evidencing this to your current or prospective employer.
As explored above, the benefits of getting certified outweigh the time and financial investments required to getting certified, as it would enable you to take your career to the next level. Nowadays, most of the certifications are available in an e-learning format with remotely-invigilated online exams, enabling you to study as and when it is convenient for you. Fundamentally, this provides you with a flexible and self-paced opportunity to getting certified that could fit around your busy lifestyle.
i Figure is based on indeed.co.uk search on Project Management in London on 23/07/2018. (Details are as follows: Project Manager London query had a response of 28819 job advertisements; Project management qualification / certification London queries had a total response of 14419 job advertisements.)
ii SkillPoint (2018). Certified professionals earn more! https://www.skillpoint.uk.com/certified-professionals-earn-more/